Iceland has not been able to reach its Kyoto Protocol targets, and with the Paris Agreement set to go into effect, the Minister for the Environment plans to take action.
Fréttablaðið reports that when Iceland ratified its role in the Kyoto Protocol, the country pledged in 1990 to reduce emissions by one fifth. Instead, emissions have been holding steady since 2011.
As Iceland is party to the Paris Agreement, which goes into effect in 2020, Iceland’s Minister for the Environment, Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, says more active measures need to be taken.
“In light of the steady rate of emissions in the past few years, it’s clear that the government and the general public need to take more radical action,” a yearly report from the Environment Agency of Iceland states. “The opportunity for Iceland to reduce its emissions in large part involves reducing carbon emissions in transportation and fishing vessels [and] reducing emissions from geothermal plants, in addition to reducing waste.”
Guðmundur told reporters that a new plan of action is being worked on, which he expects to be ready this winter.
“The government can do three things to stand by its goals for the Kyoto Protocol before the year 2020,” he told reporters. “These are to reduce emissions, to extract carbon from the atmosphere, and to engage in emissions trading if needed. That is the last option, in my opinion.”
Guðmundur says he is fairly certain emissions trading will be needed, but how much is as yet uncertain.
“I want to launch emissions trading as soon as possible, so that Iceland will already be ready [to meet its obligations] in four or five years,” he said. “Clearly, a budget will be required for such trading.”
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